How Does an O2 Sensor Work in an Oxygen Concentrator?

Oxygen concentrator

How Does an O2 Sensor Work in an Oxygen Concentrator?

Oxygen concentrators are critical medical devices that provide life-saving oxygen therapy to patients. These sophisticated instruments extract and purify oxygen from ambient air, for patients in need of respiratory support.

But how can we ensure this lifeline is as reliable and effective as patients demand? These components are integral to oxygen concentrators’ functionality, their primary role is to measure the oxygen concentration delivered to ensure it meets rigorous medical standards and is safe for patient use.

This blog will explore how O2 sensors work in oxygen concentrators and their vital role in healthcare, ensuring the delivery of safe oxygen to patients.

The Role of Oxygen Sensors in Oxygen Concentrators

In oxygen concentrators, O2 sensors continuously measure the oxygen percentage in the flow delivered to the patient, ensuring concentration levels remain consistent and within medically approved limits. Such precision is crucial because even slight deviations in oxygen concentration can have significant implications for patient health.

Sensors are particularly vital for adjusting output based on the patient's changing requirements. For example, during periods of rest, a patient might require lower oxygen concentrations, whilst physical activity may increase requirements. Oxygen sensors detect these needs and adjust the concentrator's output accordingly, ensuring patients receive the right amount of oxygen at all times.

By monitoring oxygen consistency and purity, sensors prevent complications that can arise with oxygen therapy. In chronic lung diseases such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), precise oxygen delivery is essential to avoid risks like oxygen toxicity or hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels).

Working Principle of Oxygen Sensors in Concentrators

The working principle of oxygen sensors in most concentrators is based on measuring partial pressure in oxygen, a direct indicator of its concentration in the air mixture. This measurement is needed to ensure concentrator output contains the correct proportion of oxygen according to medical-use standards no matter where in the world the device is used.

There are primarily two low-cost, proven sensor technologies widely used in these devices: electrochemical and zirconia. Each operates on different scientific principles to achieve the same goal - accurate and reliable measurement of oxygen levels.

Electrochemical Sensors

These sensors work on the principle of chemical reaction and electricity generation. In an electrochemical sensor, the presence of oxygen initiates a chemical reaction. This reaction generates an electrical current, the magnitude of which is directly proportional to the amount of oxygen present. The sensor then translates this current into an oxygen concentration reading. Electrochemical sensors are known for their sensitivity and accuracy, making them a common choice in medical oxygen concentrators. Click here for PST Galvanic Electrochemical Sensors for Medical Use.

Zirconia-Based Sensors

Zirconia, or zirconium dioxide, is a ceramic material that exhibits unique oxygen-sensitive properties at high temperatures. In zirconia-based sensors, a zirconia ceramic element is heated to a high temperature. At this temperature, oxygen ions can move freely within the ceramic. This movement creates a voltage across the ceramic element, which varies according to the oxygen concentration. The sensor measures this voltage and converts it into an oxygen concentration reading. Zirconia sensors, known for their rapid response and long-term stability, are highly effective in continuous monitoring applications. Click here for PST Zirconia Oxygen Sensors

Both types of sensors are integral to providing real-time, accurate oxygen concentration measurements. This information is crucial for the concentrator to adjust its purification process, ensuring that the oxygen delivered to a patient is both safe and of the required purity. These technologies underline the sophisticated nature of modern oxygen concentrators, enabling them to cater to a wide range of medical needs with remarkable precision.

The Impact of Oxygen Sensors on Effective Oxygen Therapy: Key takeaways

Oxygen sensors are far more than mere components in oxygen concentrators - they are vital, dynamic and can significantly enhance oxygen therapy efficacy. By ensuring the consistent and accurate delivery of supplemental oxygen, they directly impact patient safety and the overall success of treatment protocols.

Oxygen sensors in concentrators maintain the delicate balance required in oxygen therapy. For patients suffering from respiratory conditions, the precise delivery of oxygen is crucial. A deviation, either too low or too high, can have detrimental effects on health. These sensors work tirelessly to maintain this balance, adjusting the oxygen concentration as necessary and ensuring that patients receive exactly what they need for their specific condition.

These sensors play a key role in improving the quality of life for patients. With reliable oxygen therapy enabled by accurate oxygen sensing, patients can enjoy a level of mobility and activity that might otherwise be unattainable. This not only aids in physical health but also supports mental and emotional well-being.

Oxygen sensors also contribute to the evolution of oxygen concentrator technology. As these sensors become more advanced, they allow for smaller, more efficient, and more user-friendly concentrators. This progress is crucial in making oxygen therapy more accessible and less intrusive for patients worldwide.

Related Products

Zirconia oxygen sensors from two companies in the PST group are used in industrial scale O2 generation and home O2 concentrators. Their small size, limited cross sensitivity to other gases, and non-depleting technology make them ideal for long term use in these industries.

The SST Zirconia oxygen sensor O2S-FR-T2 uses a unique technology not requiring a reference gas, therefore it can be sealed inside a chamber. Its fail-to-safe technology is the reason it's in use within aircraft on board oxygen generation systems and industrial scale oxygen generation processes.

The Sensore Zirconia oxygen sensor SO-E3-XXX is a miniature form with hose connector amperometric sensor with low surface temperature of <70degC making it ideal for small spaces and compact units. Designed into home oxygen concentrators and with fast responses and stable outputs it provides lasting long term stable and accurate O2 readings without further calibration.

Did you know?

Oxygen sensors are not exclusive to medical devices. From ensuring air quality to optimizing industrial processes and environmental monitoring, sensors keep us safe, efficient, and informed. Click here for more Sensors Blogs.

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Related Products

Screwfit Zirconia Oxygen Sensor
Mini Oxygen Sensor Hose Connection SO-E3-xxx

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